Humorist Jean Shepherd on his WOR radio program in 1971.
December 15, 2009
Jean Shepherd - Monolgist, a forerunner to News From Lake Wobegon
Jean Shepherd was, and it's probably trite to say it again, a modern day Mark Twain. When you listen to him simply talk (especially in his latter shows), working he said without a script but some of the shows in the planning for several weeks, you learn why he developed such a cult following. If he were doing shows with modern syndicated radio or the internet, it would be impossible to imagine how large his audience would be. If you listen to Shep, and then listen to Garrison Keillor do his narration about Lake Wobegon, also, done without a script, you can see a similarity in the style of monologue and narration, and it's easy to see that Keillor (who used to live in the Village in New York City during the time of Shepherd's New York radio popularity) listened and learned from Shepherd. If you want to hear a master of radio narration, search the internet for the various sites that let you download Shepherd material, choose a variety (because, obviously, some monologues are better than others, some topics better than others), close your eyes, take yourself back to when radio was popular and you used your imagination in a way that television and the internet, doesn't allow you to, and enjoy. And, why a five star rating? Not necessarily because this is the best of what you can find that Shepherd broadcast on radio, but because his work on radio is so much better than almost everything else (if you like listening to monologues.